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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

“Enlightenment, Stephen Hawking Style”

The goal of most scientists is to make new discoveries. Most are not concerned with sharing a deeper understanding with the general public and in a few extreme cases, the more intellectual they are, the less they care to even interact with “non-scientific intellectuals” or laypersons alike. This tends to drive a sociological wedge between scientific progress and non-scientific culture, producing a cloned kitten fearing public.

Bridging the gap between these two seemingly disparate camps are a select few, true geniuses whose vision extends beyond the natural world to embrace the masses their science is designed to propel into the future. One of my favorite such entities is Stephen Hawking. His influential, exciting style of relating to us the mysteries of our universe draws us into the inner circle of science. We are gifted with the password into this exclusive club and lead on a merry chase after the secrets of universal phenomena.

In his newest book, The Universe in a Nutshell, Professor Hawking enlightens us in layman’s terms to the mysteries behind quantum physics, M-theory, general relativity, 11-dimensional supergravity, 10-dimensional membranes, superstrings, p-branes and of course black holes. His discussions are designed to be comprehensible, accessible and full of the wit and wisdom we’ve come to expect from one of the most influential thinkers of our time.

A sequel to A Brief History of Time, this book is filled with beautiful color illustrations and diagrams that lend form to function and broaden the readers’ view of Professor Hawking’s explanations. Never one to put pleasure ahead of honest schoolwork, (ahem) I found myself unable to put this down.

Curiosity sucked me in as surely as a Hoover gobbles dust bunnies and I slipped into the inner cosmos of Hawking’s explanations on the shape of time. Before I knew it, it was time to make supper and veggie burritos pale in comparison with violins mirroring the composition of particles. I never expected to be lost to a book on science!

Nevertheless, Hawking is the Pied Piper of the Milky Way, leading galaxies to your door and inviting them in for tea. His exuberant writing style excites the reader about his subject and builds artistically on his own foundations, leading you to a better understanding of the big picture.

What is exciting about this work is that it will make the theories of the universe and its composition so much more accessible to us everyday schleps so that we might not be so afraid of science and the progress that it brings. I recently read that they have cloned a kitten, C.C. they call her (Carbon Copy). In a discussion of the topic with some fellow students, I found that an overwhelming majority thinks that this is a bad thing.

I haven’t the time or the word count to express why I disagree with this, but suffice it to say I think I understand a little more about science and am just a touch less gullible to Hollywood’s melodrama. Science isn’t a bad thing, learning isn’t a bad thing, and responsible people will always be around to make sure it stays that way. Stephen Hawking is one of those people.

If you’d like to learn more about the greatness of the universe you are but a speck within, seek out Professor’s Hawking, you’ll find him in the library under “H.” The Universe in a Nutshell is essentially the most worthwhile reading you’ll do this year and worth every moment.